Newsletter 01/04/13
  • Newsletter 01/04/13

  • 1/4/2013 12:00 AM

  • Embassy Update: Record Breaking Tourism, New Iranian Sanctions

    January 4, 2013

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    In This Issue
    Obama Signs Tough New Iran Sanctions
    Hamas Must Decide: Peace or War
    Planting 3,000 Trees for Newtown Victims
    Record-Breaking Year for Tourism to Israel
    First Religious Female IDF Navigator
    Israeli Elections
    Elections in Israel will take place on January 22.

    (photo via Haaretz)

    In Other News

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    President Obama Signs Tough New Iran Sanctions Into Law 


    President Barack Obama signed tough new sanctions on Iran into law late Wednesday, the White House said.

    Congress, as it did with a previous law in late 2011, overwhelmingly approved the legislation and tucked it into a must-pass defense authorization bill, according to the Wall Street Journal.


    The new Iran measures target the country's energy, shipping and shipbuilding sectors, already in the sights of U.S. sanctions. But the legislation goes further, restricting trade with Iran in precious metals, graphite, aluminum and steel, metallurgical coal and software for integrating industrial processes.

    It also targets the state broadcast network, call
    ed the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, which the law says violated human rights by broadcasting forced confessions and show trials.  Read more...


    Iran Tests New Version of Missiles in Exercise


    Iranian forces fired what military officers said was a new generation of surface-to-air missiles on Monday during a wide-ranging naval exercise that focused on striking hypothetical unmanned aircraft and vessels in international waters to the south of the country. They were meant to demonstrate the country's defense of its territorial waters, the official Islamic Republic News Agency said. Read more...


    See also: 

    Peres: Hamas Must Decide Peace or War

    President Shimon Peres on Monday 

    continued calls for peace with Israel's neighbors when addressing leaders of Israel's Christian communities.

    Hamas must "accept the conditions of the Quartet [the US, the UN, EU and Russia]," which include the cessation of terror, a recognition of Israel, and the acceptance of previous agreements signed between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Peres said.

    "These are not conditions set by us, but by the international community," he said.

    "Hamas and Gaza must decide what they want - war or peace," the president said. "If they want to build, Israel will be glad to see them succeed. It does not give us satisfaction to see citizens in Gaza suffer. If they don't fire, they won't be fired on."

    The effort to make peace with the Palestinians must be continued, he said.

    "If one thing clearly unites all of us it is the prayer and hope for peace," said Peres. "We all have our own ways of worship, but peace is the unifying factor." 

    Israelis to Plant 3,000 Trees Honoring Newtown Victims

    At least 2,000 people have donated funds to plant a grove of more than 3,000 trees in Israel in memory of the victims of the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, last month.
    Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America, has raised more than $61,000 toward planting trees honoring the 26 victims of the December 14 massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. The trees will be part of the Beersheba River Park, a 1,700-acre water, environmental and commercial area being constructed by the Jewish National Fund in Israel's desert city.

    The idea for the Newtown tree grove grew from a request made by Veronique Pozner, whose son, Noah, was the only Jewish victim of the shooting at the Connecticut school.
    Pozner said memorial contributions in honor of Noah could be directed toward the planting of trees in Israel.

    "The roots of this mulberry tree will hold the desert soil, produce fruit, and give shade to the families recently under fire who will enjoy the park," said Marcie Natan, national president of Hadassa. "Trees are a biblical symbol of life, and the saplings donated will bloom, grove after grove, in the memory of the children and the staff in Newtown. 

    Record-Breaking 3.5 Million Tourists Visit Israel in 2012


    Israel welcomed a record-breaking 3.5 million visitors to Israel in 2012, breaking the 2011 record by 4%, and generating nearly $4.6 billion in revenue.


    The United States represented the largest single source country for incoming tourism with about 610,000 visitors, representing 18% of all tourism to the country. 


    "These achievements are a reflection of the intensive and professional work of the past three years, when tourism has become a main engine for growth in the economy with a rise in revenues and the creation of new jobs," said Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov. "Making tourism a preferred national industry will strengthen Israel in economic, image and advocacy terms." Read more...  

    PM Netanyahu Meets First Religious Woman Navigator in IDF 


    The 165th Course of the Israel Air Force Flight Academy graduated and received their hard-won pilot's wings this week. After three long years of training, the cadets turned official pilots and participated in a ceremony held at the Hatzerim Air Force Base.

    At the conclusion of the ceremony, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Tamar, the first religious woman navigator in the IDF.

    "Tamar is an example of the equality between the sexes in Israel and proof that in the IDF there is place for all parts of Israeli society," Prime Minister Netanyahu said. "It is important that more and more sectors become integrated into the IDF so that the burden may be shared more equitably and among more people."




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